Barney and Maxine


With Barney Frank’s announced retirement, it looks like Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) might be next in line as senior Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee.  A report in The Hill explains why this is not good news for the financial industry, which Americans are supposed to both hate, and feed upon:

The California liberal is considered left of Frank, an architect of 2010’s Wall Street reform bill, on financial issues.

While banks and other financial institutions often battled Frank, he was seen as someone they could work with. Wall Street views Waters as more of an opponent.

“She’s not a good face of the issues,” one financial executive said. “She’s too much of a bomb thrower.”

Waters is not a lock for the job, in part because even today’s radicalized Democrat Party might not be crazy enough to drop Waters on the fragile financial industry.  Also, there’s a very specific reason for keeping her out of the limelight, which The Hill mentions:

Waters is wrestling with a long-running ethics investigation over whether she helped secure federal funding for a bank in which her husband owned stock and previously served as a board member. Waters has maintained her innocence, and two attorneys on the House ethics committee were placed on leave for mishandling the case. An outside attorney is now investigating the matter.

That would be OneUnited Bank, which is based out of Boston.  You’ll never guess who intervened to score a sweet, sweet TARP bailout for Maxine’s fractured piggy bank.

The answer to today’s trivia question is brought to you by a Wall Street Journal article from January 2009:

Troubled OneUnited Bank in Boston didn’t look much like a candidate for aid from the Treasury Department’s bank bailout fund last fall.

The Treasury had said it would give money only to healthy banks, to jump-start lending. But OneUnited had seen most of its capital evaporate. Moreover, it was under attack from its regulators for allegations of poor lending practices and executive-pay abuses, including owning a Porsche for its executives’ use.

Nonetheless, in December OneUnited got a $12 million injection from the Treasury’s Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP. One apparent factor: the intercession of Rep. Barney Frank, the powerful head of the House Financial Services Committee.

Mr. Frank, by his own account, wrote into the TARP bill a provision specifically aimed at helping this particular home-state bank. And later, he acknowledges, he spoke to regulators urging that OneUnited be considered for a cash injection.

(Emphases mine.)  Funny story: Frank’s “acknowledgement” of speaking with regulators did not pass easily from his lips.  As Judicial Watch recalls, the man who ruined America’s financial system initially claimed he didn’t remember exactly who he spoke with on behalf of OneUnited, but subsequently uncovered emails revealed it was none other than the Secretary of the Treasury at the time, Henry Paulson.

So, if Maxine Waters does take over from Barney Frank at House Financial Services, there will be a lovely sense of continuity.  I’m sure Waters has nothing but good things to say about the financial services she received when Barney Frank headed up the committee.